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Internet ".xxx" district opens to website makers

An Internet version of a red light district opened on Tuesday as Web addresses with ".xxx" endings became available for purchase by those interested in providing online adult content.

Florida-based ICM Registry is overseeing the top-level domain (TLD) geared for adult entertainment and reported that it is seeing nearly a million visits daily to website showing where the addresses can be purchased.

"We've put a lot of money into this, and 10 years of blood, sweat and tears," ICM chief executive Stuart Lawley told AFP.

"I feel validated," he continued. "It has been a long struggle but we stuck to our guns and took the high road."

The non-profit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) board in March approved a petition to add .xxx to the list of "generic top level domains," those endings that include .com, .net, and .org.

Lawley estimated between $10 million and $20 million were spent on the campaign, which began in the year 2000.

"Everything up to today has been the warm-up," Lawley said. "The marathon is on."

He depicted the .xxx domain as "win, win, win" since it creates an online district clearly marked for those intent on finding or avoiding adult content and which automatically scans websites for viruses or other malicious codes.

"That is a first; scanning doesn't happen at .com," Lawley said. "Instead of adult sites being risky, they will be among the safest sites on the Internet."

ICM enlisted anti-virus specialty firm McAfee to scan .xxx websites daily for nefarious software.

The sites are also designed with tags to be easily identified by parental filter features in commonly used Web browsers, according to Lawley.

Public sales of .xxx addresses come after ICM gave recognized brands and established adult entertainment industry players opportunities to secure websites related to their names.

Some popular web addresses such as were sold at auction. The address sold for several hundred thousand dollars, according to ICM.

The risque online neighborhood was opposed by some adult industry firms that feel they are compelled to buy new website addresses to avoid others capitalizing on their names and by conservative groups opposed to porn.

A lawsuit has been filed accusing ICM of taking advantage of its exclusive control of .xxx to jack up fees. Annual registry of a .xxx website is about $70 compared with $10 or so typical of other websites on the Internet.

"The lawsuit is clearly without merit and we will defend against it," Lawley said. "You can choose not to buy a new TLD."



성인용 사이트 ".xxx" 도메인 사용개시

성인용 인터넷 사이트의 도메인으로 개발된 `.xxx'가 미국 동부시간 6일 오전 11시부터 전세계에서 일제히 사용된다고 CNN방송 등이 보도했다.

국제인터넷주소기구(ICANN)가 올초 승인한 이 도메인은 지난 9월부터 등록이 시 작됐으며, 이날 10만개 이상이 인터넷상에 등장할 것으로 예상됐다.

도메인 관리를 맡은 ICM레지스트리는 성명을 통해 "성인오락물 산업은 인터넷 콘텐츠의 상당 부분을 차지하고 있다"면서 "문제는 모든 인터넷 사용자들이  부적절 하게 접급하고 있다는 것"이라고 지적했다.

그러면서 이 도메인이 `.gov(정부기관)', `.edu(교육기관)', `.org(공공기관)' 등과 같이 인터넷 사용자들이 자신이 어떤 사이트를 방문하는지를 쉽게 알 수  있도 록 한다고 설명했다.

그러나 종교단체를 비롯한 일각에서는 이 도메인이 오히려 포르노를 장려하는 부작용을 초래할 것이라는 주장을 내놓고 있다.

`모랠리티 인 미디어'의 패트릭 트루먼 대표는 ".xxx 도메인의 사용은 인터넷상 에서 포르노의 유포를 확대함으로써 어린이와 가족, 사회에 악영향을 미칠  것"이라 고 말했다.

특히 이들은 .xxx 도메인이 도입됐으나 포르노 사이트들이 기존에 갖고 있던 닷컴(.com) 도메인 등을 그대로 유지할 수 있는 점도 문제라고 지적했다.

성인용 사이트 `플레이보이 닷컴'을 운영하는 룩셈부르크 소재 회사 `맨윈(Manw in)은 .xxx 도메인이 오히려 공정 경쟁을 가로막는다는 이유로 최근 사용 중단 소송 을 제기했다고 CNN은 전했다.


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